A restrictive clause modifies the noun that comes before it in an essential way. It cannot be removed from the sentence without changing its meaning. This type of clause is usually separated from the rest of the sentence by commas, while nonrestrictive clauses are not.
Nonrestrictive clauses are used to clarify nouns that are already clearly described in a sentence or phrase. They can also be added for a sense of completeness to a sentence. For example, the sentence “the football player who is 22” clarifies that there is one particular player. However, it does not provide essential information about the noun “football player.” Therefore, this clause is considered to be nonrestrictive.
In general, it is recommended that you use which with nonrestrictive clauses and that you do not use that to begin a restrictive relative clause. However, some style manuals recommend that you do both.
This article has covered the difference between a restrictive and nonrestrictive clause as well as some examples of how to use the words that, which, and who correctly in your writing. You can use this knowledge to make sure that your sentences are well-written and clearly organized.
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Which Sentence Containing a Restrictive Clause?
Use this quick and simple test to identify which sentence contains a restrictive clause. Remember: if the noun loses its identity upon dropping the relative clause, it's restrictive; otherwise, it's nonrestrictive.